Every mother dreads the possibility that it will be her child screaming the through the entire duration of a flight…a nightmare to be sure! It is a thought that has kept me awake and anxiety filled before each and every plane trip. With Ava just turning one it surprises even me that we have braved airplane travel five times now (only once with daddy’s help)… that is at least ten sleepless worried nights…yet we have always survived just fine!
With one month until our next flight east I am already wondering how Ava will handle the trip…busy, busy, busy Ava? Only time will tell. Here are just a few tips of how I survived the first year of flights with Ava.
I remember people at the airport telling me how brave I was to travel with a baby by myself…they were not mothers. Mothers were telling me that this would be the easiest time for travel and that it only gets harder. With an immobile infant, life on a plane was pretty easy.
My advice is to bring as little as possible through security. I carried Ava in a soft carrier, the Ergo (a wrap would also work), one blanket and my diaper bag…that is it! A carrier is a must it allows your arms to be free both in the airport and once on the plane. I cannot imagine how tired you would get trying to hold a baby for an entire flight. Check your coat, stroller, car seat and suitcase! I have been lucky and have not been charged extra for checking the stroller and car seat check your airline on their policies.
Diaper bag essentials: 6 diapers, wipes, 2 burp cloths, change of clothes (if you have a child that goes through several outfits a day perhaps two extra outfits would be wise), 1-2 small toys (Ava just loved a plastic cup from the flight attendant and the cards from the seat pocket), 2-3 pacifiers (if your baby uses them because most likely one will be lost!) and since you will not be able to read bring something to listen to while the baby hopefully sleeps. Plane travel with a baby seems much, much longer! FOOD: if you are nursing that is the easiest food to bring! My experience however has told me to come extra prepared. Ava, for whatever reason, refused to nurse on the plane!!!! I would bring one bottle ready to go for take-off, you want them eating while the plan takes off and lands to decrease ear pressure, and 1-2 cold or frozen for later. You never know if you will get stuck on the runway or at the gate. Just remember to pull any milk out of the diaper bag through security. The flight attendant will bring you hot water to heat up a bottle and Starbucks will give you free hot water if you are at the airport. If your baby is snacking bring a bag of their favorite goodies.
Not much has changed. I still pack as little as possible and bring the fewest items I can onto the plane. The one big change would be in the food department. Ava was weaned to formula at 7 ½ months. I would bring one formula bottle that I would mix right before entering the security line so that it would last until take-off. I mix it before because you cannot take water through security. Once through security I would get hot water from Starbucks and put it in a bottle to cool throughout the plane ride. It would be just warm enough to mix at landing. While at Starbucks I also get cold water for her sippy cup also free. I always get a treat for myself so I do not feel guilty on all the free water and tip! Your diaper bag will also need a few more snack packs, just in case!
My next adventure with any luck will be accomplished with NO bottles!!! Ava has a thermos sippy cup which will keep her whole mild cold for hours, we LOVE it!!! I am hoping that choosing flight times that coincide with her sleep schedule will increase my chances of a sleeping baby; it has worked in the past! Ava has always surprised me, she really is a wonderful little traveler.
**Window vs. Aisle: I still cannot decide whether the aisle seat or window seat is better. The aisle seat allows for easy up and down and is most often what I have chosen. The times we have had a window seat however, Ava has been very entertained and it does seem to provide a bit more room!? Always ask at the gate if there is an aisle that has an empty seat they will move you if possible!
**Buying a seat: I know that it is recommended for safety purposes to buy a seat where your infant can be secured in their car seat. We did this once and Ava wanted nothing to do with her car seat, I held her through the entire flight anyway! Just something to think about!
**There are no changing tables on most planes so change diapers right before boarding and practice on your lap imagining a very tight bathroom space! Ava has often made it through a flight without needing a change.
Good luck and happy trails…